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Concierge.com

Kauai Hotels

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa
1571 Poipu Road
Koloa , Hawaii
96756
Tel: 800 554 9288 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 742 1234
info@grandhyattkauai.com
www.kauai.hyatt.com

The Grand Hyatt is easily the most extravagant resort on Kauai's always sunny south shore, with 602 rooms and amenities that make it family-friendly yet elegant enough for a romantic trip for two. The six-story structure harks back to the plantation style of the 1920s, and since it's built on a slope to the sea, it just slides by the island's rule of thumb: No building can be higher than the tallest coconut tree. In 2007, a major renovation gave all of the rooms a much-needed makeover (replacing tropical prints with mod white fabrics and boxy furniture); it also expanded the Anara Spa, adding a beautiful outdoor treatment area, including a completely private couples retreat (massage tables, manicure chairs, outdoor showers, and whirlpool). Because the beach here isn't suitable for swimming, the focus is on elaborate saltwater and freshwater pools with a maze of slides, caves, and waterways. The 50 acres of manicured grounds are ideal for wandering (although it's quite possible to get lost among the sometimes confusing paths). And—best of all—you can send the kids to Camp Hyatt while you make the most of the cocktail lounges, restaurants, shops, rental car desk, and golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr.—Updated by Cathay Che

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hanalei Colony Resort
5-7130 Kuhio Highway
Haena , Hawaii
96714
Tel: 800 628 3004 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 826 6235
aloha@hcr.com
www.hcr.com

This collection of 48 condos in Haena (a 15-minute drive west of Hanalei) has one major draw: views so idyllic that they almost look Photoshopped. From second-floor corner ocean-view units, you get a 180-degree eyeful of waves crashing on golden sand with the Bali Hai mountains as a backdrop. On a clear night, the stargazing is otherworldly as well. The two-bedroom, two-bath condos are otherwise average, with interiors done up in tasteful island decor and wicker furniture, but they work well for four people, either two couples, single friends, or a family. Each has a full kitchen, although there's also the Mediterranean Gourmet restaurant and a café that serves aromatic coffee and baked goods to a parade of surfers and locals. The decent spa takes advantage of the stunning views with massage tables under an oceanfront Polynesian-style pavilion. Take note that in the winter the surf is quite big; the water is better for swimming in the summer.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club
3610 Rice Street
Lihue , Hawaii
96766
Tel: 808 245 5050
kauai@marriott.com
www.marriott.com/property/propertypage/LIHHI

The Marriott is a place even locals choose for a honeymoon, because of its authentic Hawaiian style and desirable location on the golden sands of Kalapaki Beach. A mile away from Lihue airport (with the sound of jets whooshing above to prove it), the Marriott's 356 rooms are a riot of tropical fabrics. The pool is equally over-the-top—at 26,000 square feet it's one of the biggest in the state of Hawaii. Ask for an ocean view: Nothing beats breakfast on the balcony overlooking the water. Continue enjoying the beach vistas over lunch or sunset cocktails at Marriott's in-house branch of the restaurant chain Duke's Canoe Club.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Koa Kea Hotel & Resort
2251 Poipu Road
Koloa , Hawaii
96756
Tel: 808 828 8888
Reservations@koakea.com
www.koakea.com

Located between several large chain resorts on Poipu Beach, the 121-room Koa Kea hotel is a partially hidden gem. (It can be hard to find if you don't know that it shares a driveway with the Marriott Waiohai.) The hotel's condo-style buildings don't make a great first impression, but the wow factor becomes apparent inside. While the decor gives a nod to the oceanfront location with large shells, pieces of coral, and photos of sea creatures, the design is definitely more city than beach: The sexy rooms, all with ocean views, are done up in crisp white and hot pink bedding and mod Asian-style furniture. The open-air Red Salt restaurant and bar attracts cool-seeking refugees from all over the island. And perhaps the best part of staying here is the smug satisfaction of sharing primo Poipu Beach (which is plenty big) with the monster resorts, then retreating to this intimate and stylish oasis.—Cathay Che

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Outrigger Waipouli
4-820 Kuhio Highway
Kapaa , Hawaii
96746
Tel: 800 688 7444 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 822 6000
wbr@outrigger.com
outriggercondos.com

Opened in 2006, this 190-room condo resort on the beach in Kapaa, a budget-friendly local's town on the east coast with a slightly bohemian vibe, is remarkable. There are studios and one-bedrooms available here, but for the same price as a standard hotel room in Poipu you get a two-bedroom, three-bath unit with trendy Indonesian decor, a washer-dryer, and a kitchen fitted with a Sub-Zero fridge and a Wolf convection oven. (A supermarket is within walking distance.) The wind makes the ocean here a good spot for kite surfing, but the water is too rough for swimming: The resort makes up for that with a huge, heated, therapeutic soft-water river pool (the water flows from an upper to a lower level and is pumped back up), with flumed water slides and three sand-bottomed whirlpool spas. All of this adds up to a surprisingly sophisticated blend of comfort and luxury that appeals to families and honeymooners alike (although lovers may want to request the oceanfront units away from the pool for more privacy).

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Pure Kauai
Hanalei , Hawaii
96714
Tel: 866 457 7873 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 826 7703
info@purekauai.com
www.purekauai.com

You can't control which direction the trade winds blow, but you can specify almost every other aspect of your Hawaiian vacation when you're working with this outfit. Pure Kauai dials you into the island by prescreening rental homes; these range from a one-bedroom condo for $350 per night to a house with a freestanding master bedroom and two cottages on five acres of land with an infinity pool, Jacuzzi, gym, media room, full kitchen, and an office, priced at $8,000 per night (all properties have ocean views). Pure Kauai also vets potential members of your private staff—chefs, massage therapists, mountain biking tour guides, fishing- or dive-boat captains, surf instructors, yoga or hula masters, and even a life coach (or would that be a vacation coach?). If ordering up your holiday à la carte is too overwhelming, tweak the company's fitness, family-friendly, or romantic packages to suit your wants and needs. Once you're there, the Pure Kauai organizers act as your personal concierge: If there's a problem, they'll take care of it, and they can make changes to your itinerary, in case you'd rather sleep in than take that four-hour waterfall hike. And if there's something you fancy that's not on their list of services (a stripper pole, perhaps?), Pure Kauai will do its best to make it happen. Perhaps that's why celebrities like Jennifer Garner prefer it to a generic week at even the best resorts in the state.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Sheraton Kauai
2440 Hoonani Road
Koloa , Hawaii
96756
Tel: 866 716 8109 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 742 1661
info@sheraton-kauai.com
www.sheraton-kauai.com

The Sheraton Kauai, the first resort built on Poipu Beach, is often overshadowed by the much larger Grand Hyatt Kauai nearby. But there is a lot of charm in the Sheraton's spacious mid-century layout: The four-story buildings of its original Beach Wing surround a flat grass courtyard that could've easily housed additional structures. The crescent of Poipu Beach that fronts the resort is stunning and rarely frequented by nonguests, although the sea here is not entirely placid. The 394 guest rooms were refreshed in 2009, and some have modern four-poster beds dressed in crisp white linens and a subtle beige-and-brown palette that's appealingly unfussy. The best accommodations are the ground-floor Ocean Deluxe rooms with semiprivate patios that lead out to a seaside lawn. Note that the hotel's Garden Wing is located across the street from the ocean. There are also three oceanfront indoor/outdoor restaurants, and the only oceanfront luau in Poipu adds to the resort's classic Hawaii vibe.—Cathay Che

Note: The Sheraton Kauai's public areas will be renovated between January and June 2011. During this period, the resort will remain open and all guests will receive a complimentary breakfast buffet.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
St. Regis Princeville
5520 Ka Haku Road
Princeville , Hawaii
96722
Tel: 808 826 9644
stregisprinceville.com

The crowning glory of the St. Regis Princeville hotel, located in the private community of Princeville, near groovy Hanalei town, is the breathtaking view of Kauai's Hanalei Bay and mountains (a.k.a the Bali Ha'i mountains from South Pacific). The resort, which originally opened in the 1980s, was long a crystal- and gilt-encrusted pantheon to ostentatious wealth, but its transformation in October 2009 into a St. Regis made the vibe considerably more laid-back and Kauaian. (The private butlers are an interesting counterpoint to the mellow guitar player channeling Jack Johnson in the lounge and the younger and hipper-than-you-expect honeymooners in shorts and flip flops.) But as much as they try to change the energy here, there's no getting around the fact that the building itself is an 11-story monolith and many of the rooms are long and a bit narrow. Partially built into the side of sea cliffs, the hotel has a memorable, nontraditional layout: The lobby is on the ninth floor, with two floors of rooms above (if you prefer a view) and seven below, some of which open onto the lawn, beach, and pool at sea level. From ocean-view rooms, there's no development in sight, just the surfers hitting the waves. The food at Jean-Georges Vongerichten's elegantly casual Kauai Grill lives up to the chef's hype, and it's a pleasant surprise that prices are almost the same as at the less impressive Makana Terrace. The pool and two whirlpools at beach level are open 24 hours—perfect for gazing at shooting stars and the infamous Hanalei moon.—Cathay Che

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Waimea Plantation Cottages
9400 Kaumualii Highway (Highway 50)
Waimea , Hawaii
96796
Tel: 800 992 4632 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 338 1625
info@kikiaola.com
www.waimea-plantation.com

Composed of 62 individual cottages built in the early 1900s for plantation workers, this 30-acre property is a great alternative to frenetic resorts. There's nothing fancy or new here—and that's precisely the charm. Oceanfront cottages are preferred: They're the best way to take advantage of large porches. One, two, three, four, and five bedrooms are available, and all are equipped with full kitchens and tasteful rattan furniture; some have original claw-foot tubs. There's no room service, but the Waimea Brewing Company restaurant is on the premises and attracts locals and tourists. Join them and sip microbrews while snacking on island-style pupus (small plates). The Plantation's only drawback is that the beach isn't ideal for swimming, but alternatives are close by, as is the picturesque Waimea Canyon.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.